Sandy Bruce-Lockhart Meeting

24 Apr 2005

The five parishes opposition group were invited to meet with Sir Sandy Bruce Lockhart and Keith Ferrin to address our concerns over the proposals made by the Kent Science Park.

And here is a copy of the letter I sent to Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart outlining the topics discussed

Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart
Kent County Council,
Invictor House,
County Hall,
Kent ME14 1XX 

Dear Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart

Re: Meeting of Monday 11th April

The Five Parish Opposition Group would like to thank you for making the time to hear our objections on the Kent Science Park proposals and as requested have listed the main points of discussion below.

  1. We understand that a Southern Relief Road is supported in principle by both Swale Council and KCC in order to address potential traffic congestion that may be created by the development of the Northern Relief Road.
  2. We are not convinced by the arguments for the construction of a Southern Relief Road in order to provide a solution to the perceived traffic congestion that the development of the Northern Relief Road will bring. We therefore must express our concern that the Southern Relief Road would merely act as a service road in much the same way as the Northern Relief Road, with additional development negating any of the perceived benefits.
  3. We are also unhappy that Swale Council have at this time altered the wording of the draft Local Plan to incorporate the following

    "In the longer term and following completion of the northern relief road, it may be necessary to consider more significant road improvements, including a possible new road link between the A2 and M2."

    We strongly oppose this addition as it pre-empts the results of any future traffic modelling/studies that might take place. It is our view that such decisions should only be made in light of more factual evidence.  Indeed your own independent study by the Babtie Group on the proposed Southern Relief Road (September 2004) concluded that the road would yield only a one percent reduction in traffic movements and then only if the target modal shift were achieved, which is highly unlikely. Given that the modal shift has never before been achieved, we would conclude that this road would actually increase traffic movements and results in anything but relief for Sittingbourne.
  4. We believe that priority for highway investment should be focused on the highly inadequate M2 Junction 5. With the envisaged expansion to the commercial areas to the north of Sittingbourne and/or to the Isle of Sheppey this will act as a huge bottleneck for access both on and off the motorway. In fact we believe that the addition of a new junction to serve the proposed South Relief Road would only add to, rather than alleviate the pressure, with traffic junction hopping between junctions.
  5. You suggested that a figure of around 1,000 rather than the proposed 5,000 dwellings would be required to fund this road. However, we do not believe that strategic infrastructure of this importance should be funded by house building programmes and strongly oppose any development plans that would entail a three fold expansion of our village. We also believe that the proposed Southern Relief Road would become a defensible boundary for eastern development of Sittingbourne and regardless of any promises made now will result in further housing developments which would destroy our fragile village communities.
  6. We were pleased to hear your assurances not to allow development of the Kent Science Park beyond its present security fence. However, we would like to see this view along with a suitable definition of the type of enterprises that may occupy any newly developed buildings, included within the final draft of the Kent & Medway Structure Plan.

Yours faithfully

Andy Hudson
Chairman Five Parishes Opposition Group